Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Remember the Spartans?

Hottest team in the Bog Poll has to be the UMBC Retrievers with six straight wins, and American University gets special mention for five in a row, but the award for the out-of-nowhere, given-up-for-dead-on-the-side-of-the-road, stick-a-fork-in-them (they're-done), comeback story has to go to the Norfolk State Spartans, who have won eight of their last nine and are tied for first place in the MEAC with Morgan State. Yes, they lost to Longwood and Prairie View, and Richmond is their only nonconference win over a .500 team, but the Spartans have had their act together in conference play and have made the MEAC into a three-team race. Welcome to the Bog Poll, Norfolk State!

In other news, Georgetown steals another win and loses on the road again (to Syracuse), but splits or worse by everyone else in the Top Five keeps the Hoyas at the top spot. Greivis Vasquez' three-point shooting brings the Terps back against Florida State, but I don't think Maryland can count on that from him every game. VCU stumbles at home against ODU, and the CAA finds itself dining at the one-bid table. UMBC is in the driver's seat in the America East but has three of its last four on the road including trips to the second and third place teams. George Mason is strong enough for second in the CAA but got swept by UNC Wilmington and ill likely see them in the league semis. Virginia Tech's only win in the top two-thirds of the ACC is against Maryland more than a month ago. American has been hot, but the Eagles' most recent loss was to second-place Navy and they head to Annapolis for the grudge match next week. Morgan doesn't get the same chance for redemption against Norfolk State, so Bog Poll bragging rights (and an NCAA bid) will have to wait until the conference tournament. And Loyola finally jumps back in the Top 10 for the first time since Week One. Still some decent teams hanging in the wings: Richmond, Hampton, William and Mary. And some pitiful ones: Virginia.

1. Georgetown
Rich Chvotkin’s play-by-play call from the Villanova game now a part of NPR’s “This I Believe” series.
2. Maryland
Terps lose at Duke, Dick Vitale blames Kelvin Sampson.
3. VCU
Rams maintain ranking in Bog Poll, but Anthony Grant slips from #1 spot on South Carolina AD’s speed dial.
Enraged by the choice of Uno the beagle as Best in Show at Westminster, Retrievers vow to track and kill every opponent in the America East.
5. George Mason
Being named Homecoming King is little comfort to Will Thomas after losing to UNC Wilmington.
6. Virginia Tech
Hokies beat Virginia on February 2, which makes their record ½-3 in their last four contests.
7. American
Eagles’ dominance of the Patriot League reportedly began shortly after Jeff Jones and his wife attended a party at the home of Jose Canseco.
8. Morgan State
Todd Bozeman promotes a Morganic basketball lifestyle as the cornerstone of his team’s success and the future health of the planet.
9. Loyola
After Greyhounds struggle at Niagara again, Jimmy Patsos decides to play next year’s game on the Canadian side.
10. Norfolk State

Spartans follow 2-8 start with 11-2 run. Let’s just hope they can stay on their meds for the rest of the season.

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